Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Economic Distortion of Criminalization...

The DEA helped Equador locate and confiscate a 30-foot long submarine in the jungle near the border with Columbia. DEA Andean Regional Director Jay Bergman said in a statement: “The submarine’s nautical range, payload capacity and quantum leap in stealth have raised the stakes for the counter-drug forces and the national security community alike.”

So the drug lords are financing the design and clandestine construction of a sophisticated, high technology, stealth submarine to deliver tons of cocaine to the U.S. market.  That can't be cheap – millions of dollars, certainly.  This only makes economic sense because cocaine is an illegal substance.  Take away the legal issue and transporting cocaine on high-tech submarines would be ridiculous.  It's very reminiscent of what happened during Prohibition – the high-tech of the day was liberally deployed in alcohol smuggling, and on a very similar scale (in economic terms).  The only interesting difference is that the physical volume of modern day illegal substances is much smaller than the physical volume of alcohol.

It's time to reconsider our drug criminalization laws.  Their only real beneficiaries are the drug lords and their submarine designers...

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